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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Hezbollah: "Oops" 


Apropros this afternoon's debate about "proportionality" and deterrance, Hezbollah has admitted that it did not expect Israel to respond forcefully when attacked:

A senior Hezbollah official said Tuesday the guerrillas did not expect Israel to react with an all-out offensive after the capture of two soldiers, the first acknowledgment by the group that it had miscalculated the consequences of the raid two weeks ago.

Mahmoud Komati, deputy chief of the Hezbollah's political arm, also told The Associated Press in an interview that the Shiite militant group will not lay down arms.

"The truth is — let me say this clearly — we didn't even expect (this) response ... that (Israel) would exploit this operation for this big war against us," said Komati.

He said Hezbollah had expected "the usual, limited response" from Israel after the two soldiers were seized by guerrillas on Israel's side of the border on July 12.

Hezbollah attacked on July 12 because deterrance failed. By Hezbollah's own testimony, deterrance failed because Hezbollah had come to expect a "proportionate" response from Israel. While the Associated Press characterizes this as Hezbollah's miscalculation, it is actually Israel's. The Jewish state allowed the credibility of its threat to retaliate to degrade to the point that Hezbollah did not believe it. Westerners and dovish Israelis who pressured Israel to show restraint also bear responsibility, for they undermined the one thing that stood a chance of keeping the peace: the credibility of the threat that Israel would retaliate against Hezbollah with overwhelming, disproportionate force. Neither Israel nor the West should make that mistake again.

MORE: Power Line and various of my commenters seem to think that Hezbollah is dissembling, or at least being disingenuous, when it says it is surprised by the intensity of the Israeli retaliation. Why would it insincerely confess that it screwed up? Sure, Israel led Hezbollah down the garden path by undermining the credibility of its own threat to retaliate over a period of years, but ultimately Hezbollah's admission reveals its own stupidity, incompetence and folly. Who would brag about that? The only reason to do so would be to avoid the alternative explanation -- that Hezbollah triggered this fight on purpose -- because it was too unpopular. But war with Israel is Hezbollah's raison d'etre, so if it is now denying that it launched the war on purpose it must be because it believes it is losing the propaganda battle. So, the alternative explanations for Hezbollah's statement today are (i) Hezbollah is sincere in its admission, thereby confessing tomfoolery and incompetence, or (ii) Hezbollah is insincere, and only claiming "miscalculation" because the truth -- that it started the war intentionally -- has turned out to be far less popular among Arabs who count than Hezbollah must have predicted in its planning. Either way, this is good news, even if it springs from the bad news that Israel allowed the credibility of its threat to retaliate to weaken to the point of war.

Comments?

21 Comments:

By Anonymous Dan, at Tue Jul 25, 10:15:00 PM:

Rule of warfare #1 against Terrorists: Everything they say is bullshit.

They say they "act surprised" is just another way of waging warfare. Don't believe their bullshit. They are merely trying to further amplify the West's media's growing theme of "disproportionality". Nothing more, nothing less.

And it is odd that bloggers on the center-right such as you Tigerhawk have picked up their theme and have not called them on it.

Please.

Hizbollah is merely trying to undermine Israel by jumping on the "disproportionate" bandwagon and keep it front and center in the media war within this war.
It is all very calculated.

So shame on you Tigerhawk for playing into that bullshit.

Hizbollah killed EIGHT Israeli soldiers and abducted 2 AFTER Israel had wage a serious offensive against GAZA for doing almost the same. (And Hizbollah launched hundreds of rockets that initial day in a serious offensive (that gets conveniently buried in the MSM doesn't it now?)

Hizbollah WANTED Israel very much to counterstrike. They are an arm of Iran and isn't it convenient that the world has stoppoed talking about Iran's nuke program huh?

Iran does not care if Hizbollah is destroyed militarily it is merely cannon fodder for Iran's grander schemes.

Iran knows that even if Hizbollah is seriously wounded militarily, it matters not because Hizbollah will have retained THE WILL TO FIGHT again another day yes? (There is my signature theme again)

But Iran will have gained precious time to keep on building their nuke program and THAT is the REAL game in this war yes? They know that, we just are too stupid to figure it out.

Shame on you Tiger. Shame.

Hizbollah was BUILT UP BY IRAN JUST FOR THIS PURPOSE of waging war against Israel when the time is right. AND WHEN BETTER TO LAUNCH AN OFFENSIVE but when Iran is on the verge of nuclear warheads in order to throw the world's attention away from Iran???

Its worked hasn't it?

CALL IT FOR WHAT IT IS TIGER AND THINK!!

Cannot anyone see this?

Why do center-right bloggers triumph the apparent "miscalculation' of the terrorists when in fact they have not miscalculated at all in one bit???

I'll tell you why you do this: you want to wish we are winning this latest round of war against Islamists and you wish to spread our good news.

But do not be conned Tiger. Do not buy into the bullshit.

Dan-O  

By Blogger Escort81, at Tue Jul 25, 10:23:00 PM:

Tigerhawk makes an excellent point that Israel's previous responses (shaped perhaps in part by dovish Israelis or Western diplomats) to Hezbollah incursions had conditioned Hezbollah leadership to expect a measured response. I am not completely sure, however, that Hezbollah would have been detered in any case by harsher previous responses. There seems to be an unending supply of capable dedicated Shia young men to staff a relatively small but robust militia, as well as an unending stream of cash from Iran, financed by $70+/bbl oil. How do you deter Hezbollah? There is no US / USSR MAD analogy that applies here. Is there anyone out there reading this blog that believes that even if the IDF achieves the best case outcome in the next few weeks that Hezbollah won't reconstitute in some small way in Lebanon and launch an attack in the next few years that will kill Israeli citizens? You can't ever pitch a shutout against theses guys, though you can get to a pretty high level of force attrition. Change the nature of the regime in Tehran and maybe Hezbollah withers on the vine, unless it finds another source of cash.  

By Anonymous Dan, at Tue Jul 25, 10:31:00 PM:

And to add to my comments above, isn't it a coincidence that Nasrallah stated in a recent interview that the Lebanon government "knew" he was going to abduct soldiers and they objected to nothing? Its bullshit. He is JUST TRYING TO GOAD ISRAEL INTO GETTING "DISPROPORTIONATE". He is waging a media campaign and its working.

Do not forget that Terrorists are masters of media manipulation.

Expect more interviews with this theme in mind. Hizbollah wishes to be portrayed as a "victim" in this war.

They will play to the West's sensibilities with all their might.

Do not trumpet these propagandas as a "miscalculations" on their part as part of some theme that we are winning.

It is only we who miscalculate.

Dan-O  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jul 25, 11:43:00 PM:

The whole idea of proportionate response in war is insane.
Consider a simple and childish example where individual A slaps individual B which replies with a proportional slap; then individual A punches B a couple of times and B replies again with a couple of well placed proportional punches. This is all very nice and good. But now A shoots B in the head, what would B’s proportional response be? … because B is now DEAD!!

Maybe it is time to get serious because Israel has already delivered a couple of well placed punches in 1967 and 1973 to no avail and now Syria and Iran look ready to shoot Israel in the head. Should Israel be asked to wait for the shot in order to deliver a proportional response?
Luc  

By Blogger crosspatch, at Wed Jul 26, 12:24:00 AM:

I agree that having seen Israel's reaction in Gaza, Hezbollah knew exactly what would be coming. Something I ran across last night was an article in Time Magazine. Buried deep inside the article was a mention that prior to the Hezbollah action, moderates were winning the internal Iranian debate concerning nuclear research. Consensus was coming down on the side of moderation and agreement. As soon as the Israeli response to the Hezbollah action came, the argument of the hardliners became "See, this could happen to us, we need nuclear weapons". So there is this notion that maybe the hardliners in the Iranian regime precipitated this for purposes of an internal struggle against more moderate forces.

Original Time article.

Excerpt:

The thorny nuclear negotiations with the West are likely to become even trickier. The delay in efforts to enforce a cease-fire in Lebanon is inflaming divisions within the Iranian regime on how to respond to the U.S.-backed package of incentives offered to Tehran in June. Before the crisis erupted, the momentum seemed to favor advocates of a pragmatic, positive response. But now the radicals are using the U.S.-backed Israeli campaign in Lebanon to push their case for a tough line. As an adviser to a senior conservative ayatullah puts it, “This has strengthened the hand of those who argue, ‘If this happened to us, the only thing that would save us is a nuclear deterrent.’”
 

By Anonymous Dan, at Wed Jul 26, 12:38:00 AM:

I just want to also point about how this whole war was sparked. I feel the theory of Iran being the puppet master in this whole affair should be revisited with more vigor than has been played in order to see the whole context of what is taking place. Allow me to expound the facts:

1. Palestinians dug a tunnel that took months of planning in order to carry out their sophisticated killing and abduction of Israeli soldiers.

2.Hezbollah also conducted a very sophisticated raid that killed 8 and abducted (also) 2 soldiers. Surely this raid took months to plan.

3. Mass rocket attacks from both groups concurred at the same time. These events happened practically simultaneously which leads one to believe they were coordinated.

4.These events happened on the eve of the G8 meeting which is also more than a coincidence.


The obvious resulting theory is not good:

1. Iran masterminded the intelligence, planning and communication and Syria is the line of communication, the "pawn" who enabled the attacks (through both Hamas and Hezbollah) to proceed. Hence Bush was very down on Syria for “enabling” the overall operation(s) early on. After all, both Hamas and Hezbollah senior leaders hang out in Syria this whole time yes?

2.Syria has obviously sold their Arab soul to Iran. Everyone agrees on this.

3. Iran is the strategic player. They truly are the “puppet masters”. They are the real masterminds.

4.Iran does not care about Hezbollah’s destruction militarily. They know that Hezbollah will retain the will to fight (I think that’s correct) even if wiped out militarily. Nothing to lose here for them. Needless to say, Iran does not care one iota about the Palestinians. They too are expendable.

5. Iran has plotted (or worse have held this in their "hip pocket" for the right moment) this attack on Israel for many months. Consider it their “trump” card. They must have felt it was time to play it.

Iran’s President has been practically the spokesperson for this war. It seems as if his forces were even fighting it (which apparently they are as credible stories have said Iranian elite guards have been killed in the fighting.)

So why has Iran started this phase of their war on the west at this juncture? Simple. They are very close to achieving nuclear weapon status. This war diverts serious attention from them and buys them precious time.

But more importantly this new war ensures the rest of the world will be hopelessly divided and unable to respond effectively against Iran. And surely this strategy has worked brilliantly. So maybe the G8 unexpectantly did not quite condemn Israel as perhaps was expected by Iran but the G8’s message was weak nonetheless. So be it. The main goal was well achieved: Divert attention from Iran and hopelessly divide the world powers on the “Iran nuclear issue” Check and mate. Iranians are good at chess.

Precious time is what Iran needed at this critical juncture according to their thinking. They are vulnerable now in 2006 as was Hitler when he kept rolling the dice in 1938 and 1939 gambling that the Allies would do nothing to stop him.

Its worked so far hasn't it???

But by 2007 it is game over. For us.

The Saudis and Egyptians realize this and hence they are in fact rooting for Israel sort of.

Remarkable yes?
Not really when you connect the dots and keep your eye on the ball.


And the idea that you can split Syria from Iran? It can’t be done. They have sold their soul to the devil and everyone knows it including them. And Syria thinks Iran will win in the end and odds are they may be right.

Tiger DO NOT LOSE SIGHT OF THE BALL!

This war is a mass diversion staged by Iran for Iran's sole purpose of achieving nuclear weapons status. Nothing more nothing less.

Think about this: When Iran has nukes, this war will seem trifle compared to what can really happen yes ?

And the world will change forever on the day they announce their bombs. Do you not see that? Cannot you imagine that? And we will quickly forget about Hezbollah and Hamas.

Imagine teh scene in Lord of the Rings where they are surrounded by Goblins in the Mines of Moria and then they realize that there is much worse to come: Balrog shows his face and the game changes totally.

Hamas and Hezbollah really are pawns at this stage. Stooges. Useful but expendable in teh Mullah's world.

Keep you eye on the BALL Tiger!

Dan-O


Dan-O  

By Anonymous Dan, at Wed Jul 26, 12:53:00 AM:

My goodness I almost forgot!

Tiger remember in the Spring when Amenijaimed (too lazy to look up the fooker's name) wrote the letter to Bush and many speculated that the letter was in fact a last chance to convert prior to him declaring war as per muslim culture?

Why haven't I connected this??

Isn't thats whats happening?

Do you not think that Iran has been planning this all along? The timing is uncanny!

Didn't Merkel of Germany get a letter recently? ANd didn't she just dismiss it as garabage unworthy of a response? Are they the designated recipient of Europe and does this not signal that Iran will also declare war on Europe? Will we see Berlin bombed in a major Iran-sponsered attack?

Worse yet, we all knwo Al-quada members have been harbored in Iran and do you suppose that Iran ,after coopting Hamas and Hezbollah, has also coopted AL-Quada??

Hence the attack in Europe to come will not be blamed on Iran but simply Al-Quada?

My goodness the clarity is coming faster than Ican write.

Tiger please help spread the word!! I am serious.

Dan-O  

By Anonymous Dan, at Wed Jul 26, 01:04:00 AM:

GAHHH!

Once more thought Tiger! It has been reported that US has given Israel a "window" to deal with Hezbollah. Why is that? Does that make sense on the surface? No it does not. They are terrorists.

The only way it makes sense is if the US administration sees the big picture: Iran. The US wants Israel to quiet down so we can go back to dealing with the real deal: Iran.

Get the fighting subdued and world politics and media attention back to the real story: Iran and the bomb.

Maybe thats not so dumb after all.

Hezbollah is chump change compared to a nuclear Iran....

Dan-O

Please spread the theories I don't have a damn blog yet!!!  

By Anonymous Dan, at Wed Jul 26, 01:16:00 AM:

Gah gah! Clarity by the minute here!

Why does Hamas want to stop fighting now? Cause they are quite the dupes and have now realized it. I sense the fighters in the Gaza strip were unwilling pawns to Iran via Syria and clearly see they are being hung out to dry. They are Sunni afterall. Apparently the Hamas leadership stationed in Syria sold out the Gazan Hamas. Gazan fighters were no doubt unaware of the "big picture" initiated by Iran.

They see it now and they have most likely been convinced by the Saudis that they are fools and wish to stop fighting as they are getting no attention, no symphathy (thats for Hezbollah at the moment by the world press) and wish to stop getting pummeled for nothing by Israel.

Which is even more proof of what I ahve been saying about Iran's master plan of war.

Its all clarity now. And I didn't even read Belmont Club...

Dan-O  

By Anonymous Dan, at Wed Jul 26, 01:42:00 AM:

To answer you original post question Tiger, Hezbollah (Iran)never expected to gain Saudi, Egyptian or Jordan support. Hezbollah (Iran) conducts media warfare ("interviews") for 2 purposes:

1. To influence Western Media.
2. Influence the Arab street.

And they have pretty much won both.

Hezbollah will retain a will to fight even if every last rocket is destroyed that you can count on. Iran knows this so Iran wins all around.

Hezbolloh will play the media as the situation permits. Since they are getting pounded pretty good, they have fallen back to the "victim" role which will suit them just fine on Al Jazeera and the BBC.

If they actually would have won a battle that also would have played well on Al jazeera and BBC.

They have nothing to lose but material and men and in an Islamist's point of view both can be replaced.

Dan-O  

By Blogger crosspatch, at Wed Jul 26, 02:04:00 AM:

"Didn't Merkel of Germany get a letter recently?"

And so did Chirac in France. Beware August 22.  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Wed Jul 26, 05:57:00 AM:

I actually think it is immaterial whether Iran planned the original attack and ordered Hezbollah to carry it out, or Hez left the reservation. Either way, Iran has embraced Hezbollah's cause. Just as it did not matter whether Germany pushed Austria (in 1914) or was swept along by events. Iran is a threat whether it is nefarious and calculating or just driven in a certain direction by bureaucratic politics and silly pride. Ralph Peters and Michael Ledeen, neither of whom harbor even the slightest sympathy for Iran, both believe that Iran has been sucked in by its own stupidity, rather than behind this particular crisis from the get-go. I flip-flopped Kerry-like between the two points of view until I realized I did not care and it did not matter.  

By Anonymous davod, at Wed Jul 26, 07:20:00 AM:

How can you say either way Iran has embraced Hezbollas cause.

Hezbolla is a creation of the Iranians.  

By Anonymous Dan, at Wed Jul 26, 09:15:00 AM:

Tiger the Iranians are counting on people like you and me "not to care".

Just recognizing them as a threat is not enough. Surely the world recognized Hitler as a threat but did they correctly interpret his moves and properly counter his various pre-war aggressive acts?

No they chose to ride it out hoping for the best.

Events can be shaped by those who have the will to shape them and the wisdom to know when to act.

I know of Michael Ledeen's writing particularly well. Perhaps he has his own rasons for portraying Iran as "duped" into this by accident. I haven't given that much thought.

It does mattter if Iran started this or not. For if they did, it clearly validates what thinkers were saying about all the letters Iran sent out.

It matters because we can correctly interpret this as an open act of war against all of us. Not that they haven't been doing that for 27 years anyway.

But this is a very new phase. Pre-nuclear phase and if the West does not stop Iran I truly believe we are doomed.

Dramatic? Perhaps, but the situation is dire.

And it matters because I have no doubt that Iran wants nuclear weapons in order to blackmail you and I. And then after we have submitted to blackmail, they will use them anyway, that is the nature of their fervor.

Hezbollah and Hamas are little league compared to a nuclear Iran. They are merely useful idiots in the big scheme.

Keep your eye on the ball. We fight war on 2 levels and people like you can very much shape teh ideological level of ideas.

So it matters.

Not caring is a sign of loss of will to fight and I say snap out of it!

Dan-O  

By Anonymous Dan, at Wed Jul 26, 09:24:00 AM:

Quote Tigerhawk: "Iran is a threat whether it is nefarious and calculating or just driven in a certain direction by bureaucratic politics and silly pride."

This is flat wrong. Iran has been very clear on their strategic goals for a long time now.

These are driven to dominate the Middle East.

They are driven to have their ideology spread throughout the world.

And they are driven to defeat all infidels everywhere through the spread of fear and terror, particularly the "Great Satan".

And they are driven to acquire nuclear weapons in order to accomplish these goals.

They have never backtracked once from these simple goals.

They must be stopped.

Silly pride? C'mon Tiger, have you been paying attention?

Dan-O  

By Blogger Cardinalpark, at Wed Jul 26, 09:25:00 AM:

If you think about it, and forget the notion for a moment of Westphalian borders, the ruling shiite mullahs of iran and the shiite militants in Lebanon are threads of the same fabric. Nasrallah and Ahmedinejad and Khamenei all view themselves as shiite warriors. They are taking their vision and their fight to all their enemies, using every tool at their disposal to expand their vision.

Since the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is present in Lebanon, the mullahs knew of the attack. It is an opinion, of course, but with the IRG physicially present and involved, it is hard to argue they didn't.

It strikes me as unlikely that they predicted the Israeli response perfectly. They had no basis to predict with any precision what Israel would do. None of the parties have been here before.

More interesting is what is the next move? Given the reasonably strong Israeli response, I think Hez is trying to walk itself back from further expansion. They need to walk the balance between apparent capitulation - devastating to them - and escalation. Do they launch longer range missiles at Tel Aviv, escalating the civilian toll on Israel and therefore provoke an even more devastating response from Israel? Or do they enlist the aid of the media to paint Israel as the aggressor, etc.?

They seem to be trying to do the latter - in order to get a cease fire with honor. I am reminded of the great Cleavon Little scene in Blazing Saddles where he pulls the gun on himself in order to get out of a pickle. Leave it to a Jew (Mel Brooks) to model for Nasrallah.

Imagine the alternative -- Nasrallah keeps fighting. He launches a longer range missile at Tel Aviv, killing 500 civilians and knocking out some skyrise. It is the TV equivalent of 9/11. Israel would have provocation and sympathetic media support to devastate every inch of Lebanon to destroy Hez and therefore the shiite front line.

I simply doubt they are up for that today.

They have probed the defenses. It is just the next battle in the war launched in 1979.  

By Anonymous Dan, at Wed Jul 26, 09:42:00 AM:

Keen observations Cardinalpark.

However I think Hezbollah (re Iran) will press their attacks. It is a win-win situation for them.

You are staring to see Arab and other world leaders crack under the pressure. To bring about a permanent crack will require Israel to keep pounding Lebanon.

The Arab street truly is seething. The Arab leaders are forced to issue statements to try and appease their own people. Even India is jumping on the bandwagon against Israel.Its all very predictable if you read the tea leaves.

And the media is playing second fiddle to that tune against Israel.

So whats all this crap about a 1 mile buffer zone? So what good is that???

So Hezbollah is pushed back 1 friggin mile, land is not an issue here.

The will to fight IS THE ISSUE!

And Hezbollah will no doubt retain that will cannot anyone see this?

So to recap:

1. Hezbollah will continue to press attacks in order to provoke a greater Israel response. Hezbollah continues to "hide" in the population.

2. the Arab street will get roudier.

3. The world media will get shillier.

4. World leaders will get more squishier.

5. Israel will be stopped.

6. Iran and Hezbollah will win a strategic victory.

7. Hezbollah will definately "not be destroyed". They will retain THE WILL TO FIGHT.

8. Iran will acquire nuclear weapons.

9. A new game will be played except this one much deadlier and the world will forget about Hezbolloh.

It really is easy to predict if you keep your eye on the ball. Come back in 1 year and see if I am correct.

Dan-O  

By Blogger skipsailing, at Wed Jul 26, 10:49:00 AM:

here's a quote from ronald reagan that is very apropos:

"History teaches that wars begin when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap."

Whether it was hezbullah acting on their own, or Iran pulling the strings or something in between, Reagan's got it right. These guys have concluded that their aggression will not cost them much at all.

Our only rational response is to insure that these people understand that the cost of aggression is far too high.

yes, we have the deck stacked against us, but we've been here before.

I recall the riots in Germany when Reagan moved to install the Pershing II missles. The Europeans have a socialist/nihilist death wish and we should simply ignore them.

We have the capacity to respond should Iran drive this to the brink and I believe that we should demonstrate our willingness to do so.

Let's put the US military into action. Let's start getting America on a war footing, let's start acting like we think Iran is a serious threat and while we hope that diplomacy prevails we are prepared to face its failure.

The Europeans seem quite prepared to die. I'm not and neither is my family. I see no reason to heed the craven councils of the Christian apostates that inhabit what used to be cradle of American civilization.

Nope, Jacques and Co can live on their knees, we must find another way (again).  

By Blogger Cardinalpark, at Wed Jul 26, 11:47:00 AM:

To extend Skipsailing cost analogy - the cost to Iran here is negligible. In fact, they benefit as arms merchant to Hez and Syria, and from high oil prices. Until the cost is imposed on Iran, they will escalate thru proxies. This is all positive to Iran.  

By Blogger cakreiz, at Wed Jul 26, 12:42:00 PM:

Maybe there's a method in its madness, that is, that Hezbollah has gone to the Arafat School of Hard Knocks. It always seemed that Yassir's popularity only rose when Israel kicked his lame ass. Victimization at its finest.  

By Blogger Matoko Kusanagi, at Wed Jul 26, 07:14:00 PM:

look, a lot of the arab bloggers have been saying for two weeks that the grab of two israeli soldiers was to sweeten the payoff of a failed german-brokered prisoner exchange 5 or 6 months ago. Sameer Kuntar was supposed to be the deal breaker. hizb' is not dissembling, they really thought they could get the exchange, because the israelis did one just the same in 2004.
the israelis were also opperating on apriori data, but they thought they would be called off right away, witness their original statements about a 48-72 hour window. the israelis thought that because that is what has always happened. they don't want to occupy leb. but the world has changed. Condi et all have made it clear that Israel is going to get to beat the living shit of hizb' until the bombing stops and the soldiers are returned. hizb' is still operating from the old playbook that says Israel will get reined in.  

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